Saturday, June 10, 2006

rape alleged at Villawood and 26 Australians detained - no end to Howard's immigration nightmare

ABC Online reports "the lawyer for two Australians wrongfully-detained in immigration detention says he is horrified by revelations another 26 people have had the same experience.

Former immigration minister Philip Ruddock has confirmed the cases are being investigated, after South Australian Labor MP Steve Georganas wrote to the Federal Government six months ago to find out how many people had been mistakenly detained.

Lawyer George Newhouse, who is representing Vivian Solon and Cornelia Rau in their compensation cases against the Federal Government, says he is shocked by the news.

"To think that there are 24 or 25 other people who've gone through the same sorts of experiences is truly horrifying and something that we really need to get to the bottom of," he said."

In another report "an independent investigation is under way into allegations of rape and drug use at Sydney's Villawood detention centre.

The former head of Queensland Corrective Services, Keith Hamburger, is conducting the investigation into claims women have been sexually assaulted by guards and male detainees.

There are also allegations detainees have access to drugs including amphetamines, heroin, morphine and marijuana.

A spokesman for the Immigration Minister says a final report into the allegations is expected soon.

The federal Opposition immigration spokesman Tony Burke says there should also be a police investigation into the claims.

"The fact that you're a detainee should not get away from the fact that rape is a crime, and if there's an allegation of rape is should be reported to the police," he said.

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